Now that I have had some time to digest the loss from game 2, I can't help but think the Caps are like a Russian bear that is hibernating. Once they wake up they will roar and score goals and make this series interesting, but will it be too late?
My fear is that the Caps will panic, play as glamorous individuals and forget to play as a team, although Bradley, Gordon and Steckel have done a great job. They have been consistent and played with energy every shift. I think they should be playing more as the other lines haven't had the same consistency.
Obviously, I'm not the coach and don't want the job, but as a armchair coach, I would juggle up the lines a bit as something needs to motivate these guys. Everyone other then Ovie is invisible. I know. The team on paper is playing great, but can't seem to score, or had a bad game on D, but the reality is we are down two games. I don't care that they are in NYC. Where is the grit? The desire? The patience? The Caps TEAM that won the SE Division?
The Rangers have done a great job of blocking shots and keeping the Capitals from having clear shooting lanes. Lundquist will stop every shot from the blue line. The armchair coach in me wants them to grind a bit more, get it in deep and get a rebound. Kozlov is a big boy and his contract is over this year. One would think he would want to play a little better or at least up to his ability. And Jurchina! You are a professional hockey player. When you line up a slap shot from the blue line- don’t hit the puck so hard and focus more on aiming it at the net. It's a rocket for sure, but it goes to the moon, not the net.
These Caps won 11 in a row last year to get into the playoffs. Maybe it's time to do something along the same lines. I hope so.
I have an idea for tonight…There is a song by the Ramones that is played in most arenas. It goes something like "A-O Let’s Go"! ( A for Alex- O for Ovechkin) The Caps have used it in DC and I know that they use it at MSG. The Caps need to own the song; let it be our secret that it is for them only. Then when the Rangers’ fans yell out "A-O Let’s Go", they will be rooting for the Caps and Ovie unknowingly.
Caps, you may not hear us tonight, but We will be there, rooting for you!
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Author: Syd Butler | Special to NHL.com